Tag: Finlandia Prize

Sofi Oksanen wins the 2008 Finlandia Prize

10 February 2009 | In the news

Photo: Toni Härkönen/WSOY.

Sofi Oksanen. - Photo: Toni Härkönen/WSOY.

The Finlandia Prize for Fiction, Finland’s most prestigious literary prize, was awarded to Sofi Oksanen’s novel Puhdistus (‘Purge’, WSOY, 2008). ‘When the concentrated focus of drama and the multidimensionality of narrative conjoin, Puhdistus is born – a muscular, harsh, and solid book’, said the writer and critic Pekka Tarkka awarding the prize on 4 December. (For a short review, see the Review section.)

The prize, worth € 30,000, was awarded for the twenty-fifth time. The final choice was made from the shortlist of six candidates; the others were 14 solmua Greenwichiin (‘14 knots to Greenwich’, Otava) by Olli Jalonen, Kosmonautti (‘The cosmonaut’, Tammi) by Katri Lipson, Marie (Otava) by Arne Nevanlinna, Kohtuuttomuus (‘Excess’, Siltala) by Pirkko Saisio and Paholaisen haarukka (‘The Devil’s fork’, WSOY) by Juha Seppälä. More…

Sofi Oksanen: Puhdistus [Purge]

5 February 2009 | Mini reviews

Sofi Oksanen: Puhdistus [Purge]Puhdistus
Helsinki: WSOY, 2008. 380 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-33973-2
€ 29.90, paperback

Sofi Oksanen’s first play Puhdistus (‘Purge’) was staged at Finland’s National Theatre in 2007. Oksanen (born 1977) has an Estonian-Finnish background and studied at the Theatre Academy. Puhdistus, her third novel, retells the story of her play about two women and moves through the past by flashbacks between 1939 and 1992. Aliide has experienced the horrors of the Stalin era and the deportation of Estonians to Siberia, but she herself has to cope with the guilt of opportunism and even manslaughter. More…

Olli Jalonen: 14 solmua Greenwichiin [14 knots to Greenwich]

30 December 2008 | Mini reviews

Olli Jalonen, 14 solmua Greenwitchiin14 solmua Greenwichiin
[14 knots to Greenwich]
Helsinki: Otava, 2008. 381 p.
ISBN 978-951-1-23014-4
€ 34.40, hardback

The ‘knots’ in the title refer to the 14-part control device in a competitive expedition that the participants have to use to check in at the control points. The Finn Petr Järvi leaves London together with his scientist friend Graham and Graham’s wife Isla on a year-long contest, held in honour of the 350th anniversary of the scientist Edmund Halley. More…

Juha Seppälä: Paholaisen haarukka [The Devil’s fork]

30 December 2008 | Mini reviews

Juha Seppälä: Paholaisen haarukkaPaholaisen haarukka
[The Devil’s fork]
Helsinki: WSOY, 2008. 267 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-34534-4
€ 32, hardback

Seldom does a novel manage to be as topical as Juha Seppälä’s latest – his tenth – which portrays a great economic crisis and the people who are dragged along with it. Seppälä has written lines for his characters where they claim that a novel is only able to depict a reality that existed years ago – but Paholaisen haarukka proves this is not true. More…

Katri Lipson: Kosmonautti [The cosmonaut]

30 December 2008 | Mini reviews

Katri Lipson: KosmonauttiKosmonautti
[The cosmonaut]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2008. 199 p.
ISBN 978-9513-142940
€ 22.50, hardback

Kosmonautti is a reflective first novel by a mature author; Lipson (born 1965), a medical doctor, has succeeded in weeding out the non-essential. In a cold, dark Murmansk during the final decade of the Soviet Union, three people live out their dreams. Seryozha is the good boy who adores space travel and his beautiful music teacher, Svetlana Kovalevna. She is harassed both in the classroom and in the staffroom, and by her snooping neighbours in the communal apartment. More…

Literary prizes

15 November 2008 | In the news

In November six novels were shortlisted for the twenty-fifth Finlandia Prize for Fiction, to be awarded on 4 December.


The miracle of the rose

Issue 2/1997 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Naurava neitsyt (‘The laughing virgin’, WSOY, 1996). The narrator in this first novel by Irja Rane is an elderly headmaster and clergyman in 1930s Germany. In his letters to his son, Mr Klein contemplates the present state of the world, hardly recovered from the previous war, his own incapacity for true intimacy – and tells his son the story of the laughing virgin, a legend he saw come alive. Naurava neitsyt won the Finlandia Prize for Fiction in 1996

28 August

My dear boy,

I received your letter yesterday at dinner. Let me just say that I was delighted to see it! For as I went to table I was not in the conciliatory frame of mind that is suitable in sitting down to enjoy the gifts of God. I was still fretting when Mademoiselle put her head through the serving hatch and said:

‘There is a letter for you, sir.’

‘Have I not said that I must not be disturbed,’ I growled. I was surprised myself at the abruptness of my voice.

‘By your leave, it is from Berlin,’ said Mademoiselle. ‘Perhaps it is from the young gentleman.’

‘Bring it here,’ I said. More…

Far from the world

Issue 1/1989 | Archives online, Authors

The narrow, icy road winds its way up to the small village. There are just a few houses, and scarcely two dozen inhabitants, all of them Swedish-speaking. It is many hundred kilometres to Helsinki, but nearby are a few very small, Swedish-speaking towns.

This is a Finland that Finns themselves do not know. Only a few travel here – and the people who live here do not like to go anywhere.

The poet Gösta Ågren, 52, is one of the villagers. All the other inhabitants are his childhood friends. Gösta Ågren is no different from the others. Even his house is just as unassuming as the rest, for this is not prosperous country. He built his house himself, painted it yellow and red and decorated its interior timbers with inscriptions of a kind generally found in Dalecarlia in Sweden. Gösta Ågren was born in the place where he built his house. More…